DEI: Moving Toward the Greater Good

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace are crucial issues that companies must address to create a positive and productive work environment for all employees. It’s important to recognize the progress that has been made in the DEI space and identify areas that still need more focus.  

Initiatives That Are Working 

Companies that prioritize DEI initiatives are seeing positive results in the workplace. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that embrace diversity in their workforces are 45% more likely to report market share growth and 70% more likely to capture a new market. Some of the initiatives that are working well in the workplace include: 

  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): ERGs are a great way to create a sense of community within an organization. ERGs can be based on a variety of factors, such as gender, race, sexual orientation, or even hobbies. These groups provide a safe space for employees to connect with each other and provide support. 
  • Bias Training: Bias training is designed to help employees understand their unconscious biases and how they impact their interactions with others. This type of training can be incredibly effective in helping to reduce discrimination in the workplace. 
  • Flexibility: Companies that offer flexibility regarding work arrangements, such as remote work, can help create a more inclusive work environment. This can be especially beneficial for employees who have caregiving responsibilities or other obligations that make traditional work arrangements challenging. 

More Focus Needed 

While progress has been made in the DEI space, some areas still need more focus. One area that requires more attention is the recruitment process. Many companies still struggle with recruiting a diverse group of candidates. Companies need to make a concerted effort to reach out to underrepresented groups and create a recruitment process that is inclusive.  

Shannon Block, Equiliem’s Chief Administrative Officer, said, “To find the best talent, truly, we need to go above and beyond traditional recruiting methods and outreach to underrepresented communities. It’s not just about filling positions but about finding qualified candidates from all backgrounds and giving them the support they need to succeed.”  

Another area that needs more focus is retention. It’s not enough to simply recruit a diverse group of employees; companies need to create an inclusive work environment that supports and values all employees. This can be done by implementing initiatives like ERGs and bias training and ensuring inclusive and equitable policies and procedures.  

So, how can you tell if a culture is successful with DEI? One way is to look at the demographics of the workforce. If the company has a diverse workforce that is representative of the community, that’s a good sign. Another way to gauge success is to look at employee engagement and retention rates. Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to stay with the company long-term. 

Successful DEI Strategies 

A successful DEI strategy starts with a commitment from leadership to create an inclusive work environment. This commitment should be backed up by action, such as implementing policies and initiatives that support DEI. A successful DEI strategy should also be ongoing, with regular assessments and adjustments as needed. 

The impact of a successful DEI strategy can be significant. Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to be engaged and productive. This can lead to increased innovation and creativity and improved financial performance for the company. Additionally, a successful DEI strategy can help to attract top talent and improve the company’s reputation. 

One example of a company that is successfully implementing a DEI strategy is Starbucks. In 2018, Starbucks closed all of its US stores for a day of anti-bias training after an incident in which two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store. Since then, the company has continued to prioritize DEI initiatives, including diversifying its leadership team and creating an Inclusion Academy to train employees on DEI topics. 

Salesforce is another example. This company has committed to DEI by setting diversity goals for its workforce and implementing unconscious bias training for all employees. Additionally, Salesforce has made a concerted effort to support underrepresented communities by investing in education and workforce development programs. 

The impact of these initiatives has been significant. According to a Great Place to Work report, Salesforce’s commitment to DEI has led to a more engaged and productive workforce. Additionally, the company has seen improvements in retention rates, with employees reporting higher levels of satisfaction with their work environment. 

Beyond the Bottom Line  

Several business leaders have spoken about the importance of promoting DEI simply because it is the right thing to do, regardless of financial interest. Here’s what they say: 

  • “Equality and fairness are not just principles to which we should aspire. They are fundamental human rights. And promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is simply the right thing to do.” – Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft 
  • “Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are not just business imperatives. They are moral imperatives.” – Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb 
  • “We believe that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we are committed to creating an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.” – Tim Cook, CEO of Apple 

The most promising note in the DEI conversation is the growing sentiment among business leaders that doing what is right for people should be the primary focus rather than just pursuing financial gain. By prioritizing all employees’ well-being and promoting ubiquitous belonging, companies can create a more positive work culture and ultimately lead to long-term success.  

About Equiliem

Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive. 

Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.

Since 1995, we’ve helped shape our industry. Today, we continue to research, ask questions, and continuously enhance the candidate journey and client experience.